GARNER — The Perez brothers have been hoping for just about all of younger brother Manny’s life to play together on a soccer team that matters.
This season at Garner, they’re finally getting that chance. And it created a pretty nice moment for the Trojans on Wednesday night against West Johnston.
Marco, a senior who was Greater Neuse River 4A Conference player of the year last season and will play at Campbell next year, hit his freshman brother with a lead pass in the 68th minute for Manny’s first goal in an easy 6-0 win over West Johnston.
The result improved the defending conference champions to 4-3, 2-0 in GNRC play, while rebuilding West fell to 4-2 and 1-1.
Six different players scored goals for Garner. Marco Perez finished with a goal and two assists while Manny Perez and junior Bryson White added a goal and an assist each.
Kody Kamphuis and Corey Morrison also scored for Garner to give the Trojans a 4-0 halftime lead, while Kyle Sammarco tallied on a penalty kick in the 77th minute.
“I was a little surprised by the result,” Garner coach Jon Sherwin said. “West Johnston is always a good team, and they split with us last year.
“We spent a lot of time this week talking about not just doing enough to win. Every other game we’ve played has been a one-goal game, and I felt like our guys were doing just enough. I said I wanted to get out there and play to win, and once you get the first goal go for the second and the third and the fourth.”
West’s only two losses have been shutouts to Wake County powers Garner and Fuquay-Varina.
“I knew Garner had played some tough opponents and scored a lot of goals,” Wildcat coach Ken Sweat said. “I wasn’t shocked at the score. We’ve got a new team this year, really, with only five starters back.
“Right now we just have to improve our intensity. Defensively we have to be better as a team. Our guys will go after it and win 50-50s, but it’s got to be a team effort. Right now we’re a step behind a lot and Garner is anticipating a step ahead.”
Marco Perez has eight goals and five assists this season.
“It was amazing getting the assist on my brother’s first goal,” Marco Perez said. “It’s like a dream to get to play with him. Soccer runs in our family and this feeling is just great. I can’t describe it. I’m hoping maybe we can play one year in college together too.
“I think we’ve got a smart team that’s pretty good technically. We just have to keep working on our chemistry.”
Manny said scoring from his brother was one of his best moments on the soccer pitch.
“It was a good experience,” Manny Perez said. “It’s been great finally getting to play on the same team with Marco. I think (Garner) can be really good. If we keep communicating and playing hard as a team, we’ll get good outcomes.”
West senior co-captain Jonathon Atherholt said he expects his team to get much better.
“We need better possessions and better movement off the ball,” Atherholt said. “We need to play good ‘through’ balls to put pressure on them. We didn’t get enough pressure tonight.”